Small Steps

Well, I’ve officially begun my walking regimen, and now that I’ve written it publicly, I have to stick to it!  I’ve started small, with 20 minutes a day, but I’ll try to quickly ramp up in intensity.  Ultimately, I’d like to keep it around 30-40 minutes, five times a week.  With the upcoming hockey season in mind, I’ve determined that I will walk the dogs at 5:15 p.m., watch the 5:30 p.m. local news, and then walk on the boardwalk from 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on game nights.  That way, I can get organized and prepare dinner during the pre-game show and then settle in to enjoy my favorite way to spend three-plus hours on a typical weeknight:  New York Rangers Hockey.  (It’s their 90th anniversary this year.  I’ve been following them for a little more than half that time, going on 50 years, which is pretty damn scary when you think about it.)  I can’t wait for the season to start!  This World Cup of Hockey exhibition being put on by the NHL as sort of a pre-training camp warm-up is just a tease; bring on the real stuff!  Less than a month to go!

My sister had given me a Fitbit last Xmas.  It was NOT on my list – the only thing on my list, EVER, is iTunes and Amazon gift cards so I can buy music and sometimes books – but my generous sister always manages to get me something extravagant for which I have no real need or desire.  (Believe me, I am ashamed of my ungratefulness.  I’ve actually proposed that we forego Xmas gifts entirely, but she won’t go for that either.)  The Fitbit was still in the box when Darian asked, in August, if she could take it with her to school.  She belongs to a cross-fit gym in Morgantown and really enjoys the program, and she thought it would help her keep track of her progress.  It also measures her sleep patterns.  To her alarm, the Fitbit has indicated that she’s a fitful sleeper and wakes up multiple times every night.  I know the same is true for me as well (see “To Sleep, Perchance to Dream”, 9/16/15), so perhaps it’s a hereditary affliction.

In any event, my friend Carole showed me that my iPhone has been keeping track of my steps and certain other movement factoids all along without my even being aware or inputting any information – provided, of course, that I carry it with me, which of course I have immediately started doing.  So far, I’ve managed to walk more than 5,000 steps a day, but ideally I’d like to aim for 10,000 daily steps, which I have heard is an optimal daily allotment.

This is not the first time I’ve undertaken a fitness plan, but hopefully this one will stick.  I recently had a lovely dinner with an old school friend, and she recounted how, feeling creaky and out of shape, she had gone to the local gym but was utterly daunted by the prospect.  When she told her trainer that she couldn’t possibly lift X pounds of weight, or do X number of reps, or walk X minutes on the treadmill, the wise trainer (who I’m sure has faced this challenge from many of his trainees) proposed that she aim to do HALF-X, or even QUARTER-X, if that’s what it took to get her going, because the important thing was just to GET GOING.  I’ve taken that message to heart.

She also said that she eats half of each meal at one sitting and then saves the rest for the next day.  That’s another good idea that I need to put into practice, in conjunction with the flexible 1,500 calorie diet that my doctor gave me today.  Small steps will get me where I need to go, if I can just stick to it.

While I’m encouraged about my increased physical activity, and I’m optimistic that I can better control my food intake (I’ve done it before, I can do it again – I may even meet with a nutritionist so I can learn how to replace all the CRAP I eat with more healthy alternatives), there’s still an area of my life that I’m having a harder time gaining control over.  As I mentioned a few weeks ago (“My Life in Journals”, 8/17/16), I was going to try to wake up earlier every day so that I could better utilize my limited life hours.  While I’ve been forced to get up before I really want to on a few occasions over the past few weeks, given my druthers – in particular over Labor Day weekend, which I considered a huge waste of potentially pleasurable time – I stay in bed as long as I possibly can.  I don’t even sleep!  I just like to lie in my comfy bed with the boys (and usually Raven poking me in the face looking for attention), close my eyes and try to avoid thinking about all the things I have on my agenda for the day.  So that’s something I’m still working on.

But here’s a small step I can take to start my day on a more positive note:  In at least three separate “daily advice” posts I read this week, the message was that, if you wake up smiling, you improve your outlook on the entire day.  So even if I can’t rouse myself at an early hour, at least I can try smiling when I finally do get out of bed!

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